Former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Philip Berk has been kicked out of the organization after sharing an article with his fellow members that called Black Lives Matter a “racist hate movement.” The 88-year-old Berk, who served eight terms as HFPA president and was a member of the association for 44 years, sent an email sharing the post with the association’s members, staff, general counsel, and COO. Although Berk did not cite any sources or links in his email, the Los Angeles Times reports that it appears the article was originally published on conservative writer David Horowitz’s Freedom Center website.
Philip Berk, for reference, was also the person who actor Brendan Frasier accused of sexually assaulting him in the early 2000s. At the time of the alleged assault, Berk was serving as the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Berk’s racism comes at an almost laughably bad time for the HFPA, the organization responsible for organizing the Golden Globes. Earlier this year a Los Angeles Times exposé revealed that of the organization’s 87 members, zero are Black. The exposé also revealed that the HFPA has not had a single Black member over the past 20 years. Despite this, Berk reportedly faced significant backlash from fellow HFPA members for the email.
“As a former HFPA President and still a strong and influential voice in the group, this is not the [type] of information you should be disseminating to HFPA members,” HFPA member Rui Coimbra reportedly replied to Berk’s email, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Please remove me from any racist email you wish to send to the membership. Dr. Harper has been notified, here, that you are equating the Black Lives Matter moment to the Charles Manson murderous gang.”
Before Berk’s expulsion from the HFPA on Tuesday, the organization released a statement about Berk’s conduct, saying:
“Since its inception, the HFPA has dedicated itself to bridging cultural connections and creating further understanding of different backgrounds through film and TV. The views expressed in the article circulated by Mr. Berk are those of the author of the article and do not — in any way shape or form – reflect the views and values of the HFPA. The HFPA condemns all forms of racism, discrimination and hate speech and finds such language and content unacceptable.”